Growth Masterminds podcast: Eric Seufert on IDFA, GDPR, programmatic, the new duopoly, Amazon, incrementality, and everything else
If you don’t know who Eric Seufert is in mobile marketing, you may need to spend some more time on LinkedIn. Or on Slack, in the MobileDevMemo slack room.
Eric is also the author of Freemium Economics: Leveraging Analytics and User Segmentation to Drive Revenue. And, in his spare time — on holiday in Texas, no less — he spent an hour with talking mobile marketing, and mobile marketing challenges.
Perhaps not shockingly, Eric Seufert has strong ideas and good insight. Which is probably why you should listen to the very special and very first episode ever of Singular’s new Growth Masterminds podcast:
You can subscribe on Anchor right now, but Growth Masterminds is currently propagating to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and pretty much every other podcast platform on the planet. It’s also already available on Spotify.
But if you prefer to read your information rather than hear it, here are the highlights and a full transcript, lightly edited for readability.
Eric Seufert on: the biggest changes in mobile
I think you’ve got a lot of change that’s coming and it’s going to be very interesting to see how products adapt to that change, which is mostly going to be targeted at advertising. So if you think about regulation that comes, broadly applied to tech, but that will affect mobile probably disproportionately around the way that people are targeted with ads … how do you pivot into that now?
How do you build a flexible process and strategy that will not wither when that happens? And if you think about the way that a lot of people do marketing, the way that they do marketing now just can’t adapt to that. It will break. It’s fragile.
Eric on: the elimination of the IDFA
I wrote an article about this a couple months ago called “Would your business survive the elimination of the IDFA?” If you are building your user base incrementally at the user level, through kind of a systematic paid acquisition … if the idea of that goes away, you’re done.
Eric on: the impact of GDPR and CCPA
If GDPR gets teeth — and the California Privacy Act is much more extreme than GDPR — and you have this inability to share data across services, or pair third party data to identifiers, or even pair monetization data to identifiers … the way that we do digital marketing just would change completely.
Eric on: scaling marketing beyond initial easy wins
So you see a lot actually with DTC brands, right? So you can spin up campaigns that break even in 30 days with AEO (app event optimization) and VO (value optimization) campaign types on Facebook, and you can scale that to let’s say a hundred sales a day, right? And so your early metrics look really great and really encouraging.
But the thing is: AEO and VO, they don’t really scale that well and they start to saturate really quickly. And so can you grow that to a thousand sales a day, but can you grow it to 10,000 sales a day? And obviously you’d expect that your performance degrades … but it degrades so sharply.
Eric on: the increasingly important role of creative in advertising
Now it’s like you have an army of creative people. And I don’t mean that they are creative. I mean that you have an army of people working on creative and you have a bunch of analysts and you have a few media buyers … we create a variant of this ad for everyone. We create thousands or tens of thousands of variants of this ad and we let Facebook and Google determine the best pairing.
Eric on: the problems with programmatic
It’s growing like crazy. But I think that’s in response to Facebook and Google going algorithmic and holding that data hostage. Because programmatic’s expensive. It’s hard to do right. It takes a huge amount of investment in infrastructure, but you 100% own the data.
Eric on: triumvirate is the new duopoly … Google, Facebook, and Amazon
The duopoly is Google/Facebook. I started calling Google/Facebook/Amazon the triumvirate. Amazon is an interesting participant here because they have all the components to build a just gigantic rival to Facebook and Google. I think Amazon likes to do things slowly and methodically and thoughtfully and incrementally.
Eric on: the rise of Amazon
Amazon can wrap all their data about not just anything that you’ve done on their website, but all the purchases that you’ve made. What you’ve asked for with Alexa, all that kind of stuff. They can wrap all of that into their targeting mechanic. And so you have like all this great on-device data, but then you get a bunch of geo-based data and real world product data, and it just becomes a whole lot more robust than just like, oh, this person searched for this once.
Eric on: incrementality is everything
I can attribute everything, because I have a probabilistic model that tells me that when I had TV ads running, I got this uplift … and when I allocate 20% more budget to Facebook, I got this level of uplift. Even though I was doing view-through ads and I had other video ads running on Youtube or whatever.
Subscribe to the podcast … and check out the full transcript
And … here’s the full transcript, lightly edited for length and legibility.
Growth Masterminds: episode 1 transcript
John Koetsier: Hello, and welcome to Growth Masterminds. We are providing insight from the smartest people we know, to help smart marketers get better.
And this is the very first episode, so I’m pretty pumped about it. Nowhere to go but up from here, and I hope you’re gonna love it.
My first guest, our very first guest, super pumped to have him, worked for Skype in Estonia. He wrote a book on Freemium Economics. He was the head of marketing for Wooga games. He was also the vice president of user-acquisition for Rovio … only about a couple billion or trillion downloads there.
He started his own company, Agamemnon, which provided interesting ways of helping marketers get data and use data for marketing their mobile apps. He was also the head of platform for Network — you’ve heard of Legendary: Game of Heroes — and he runs Mobile Dev Memo and a couple other projects that we’ll talk about …
I’d like to welcome Eric Seufert.
The WURST festival
Eric Seufert: Hi John, thanks for having me on the very first podcast.
John Koetsier: Excellent, super pumped to have you. You are in Texas right now, is that not correct?
Eric Seufert: That is correct. I’m in a little town called New Braunfels, which is kind of famous for being settled by Germans, but as the name implies, but it runs a big festival every year called “Wurstfest” where everyone gets together and wears kitschy, Alpine, yodeling outfits and drinks a lot of beer…
John Koetsier: Wow, wow, Wurstfest. That’s Wurst as in “W-U-R-S-T” not “W-O-R-S-T”?
Eric Seufert: Right, yeah, yeah, it’s not the worst festival. It’s the festival of bratwurst. I’m actually not here for that. There’s like a really nice river here, so we got a river house and we’re just hanging out. But yeah, that’s kind of what the city’s known for.
John Koetsier: Excellent, excellent, very good. Well thanks for being on the show. Super happy to have you, and we’re gonna dive into a lot of topics. You’ve had an amazing career doing really really cool things, and we want to talk about some of those, and maybe some of the next steps and what you’re moving to next as well.
Talk to me a little bit about that and the complexity, even for people who are immersed in this daily.
Eric Seufert: Sure. So a little background on Mobile Dev Memo, it is a Slack group. There’s, I think we breached a thousand people, which is after I did a pretty big purge a couple months back, which I won’t do again because I wrote a script that just kicked out anyone who was like defined as inactive by Slack, which I think is like two weeks of inactivity.
So it kicked all these people out and then I just got this torrent of emails from people asking to be added back in. And it was more trouble than it was worth. But anyway, yeah, so it’s a Slack group, but it’s also my kind of trade blog so … mobiledevmemo.com. It’s where I’ve been publishing a weekly column since 2014, usually related to either mobile marketing/mobile advertising or kind of freemium monetization. It’s also a newsletter, so the newsletter goes out every Monday to a couple thousand subscribers.
So it’s kinda just multifaceted. You know, public publication project for me. Yeah, and I mean, just kind of thinking about the mobile … it’s really interesting how it’s evolved since I got involved or started working in it. Even just in the last few years, the way things have shaken out is pretty fascinating. But I tell people that I think now is kind of the most exciting time that I’ve experienced. Cause there’s just a lot of stuff happening.
Privacy regulations will break mobile marketing (or some of it)
I think you’ve got a lot of change that’s coming and it’s going to be very interesting to see how products adapt to that change, which is mostly going to be targeted at advertising. So if you think about regulation that comes, broadly applied to tech, but that will affect mobile probably disproportionately around the way that people are targeted with ads … how do you pivot into that now? How do you build a flexible process and strategy that will not wither when that happens? And if you think about the way that a lot of people do marketing, the way that they do marketing now just can’t adapt to that. It will break. It’s fragile.
John Koetsier: What will break exactly Eric?
Eric Seufert: Just their business, their business models, the way that they do marketing, the way that a lot of people sustainably grow their products will not react to those changes in a way that allows them to continue operating.
So if I think about it, I wrote an article about this a couple months ago called “Would your business survive the elimination of the IDFA?” If you are building your user base incrementally at the user level, through kind of a systematic paid acquisition … if the idea of that goes away, you’re done.
Like if all of your measurement is oriented towards that and all of your measurement and essentially your business model is oriented towards that. If the idea of IDFA is deprecated you’re out, you’re done, you won’t be able to operate that way anymore.
And you’ll have to either very quickly regroup, which a lot of companies aren’t really good at that, or you’ll just die. You’ll be beaten by someone who’s more flexible. So if you think about the companies that I see operating in the most sophisticated way now, they don’t really think about growth that way. It’s not like all my measurement is predicated on I acquired that user, this is how much they’re worth to me, and then I just aggregate a bunch of those users up and that’s my user base. It’s more a holistic modeling approach, with a media mix model thinking: okay, I’ve got out of home, I’ve got digital, I’ve got whatever … and all of that works in concert to build a user base.
And I don’t necessarily think about the unit economics at the ad level or the campaign level or the user level. I think about like global unit economics in a way that supports all those different channel types.
John Koetsier: That’s super interesting because that’s almost a return to some of the older days of marketing before this golden age of mobile marketing with all the personal data and IDFAs, device identifiers, and all that.
Eric Seufert: Yeah, I think it is, but I think in a way that never really went away. I mean, if you talk to people at the really sophisticated shops, they’ve always kind of had that outlook. It’s just that digital makes things more granularly measurable, right? And so some people use that as a crutch now. And it makes it possible to get extreme transparency into your marketing spending and it allows you to scale up campaigns relatively easily and cheaply, right?
Because if you’re just running ads on Facebook or whatever, and you can measure the cost per click and install and you can measure day zero ROAS (return on ad spend) and all that kind of stuff, you don’t need a massive machinery supporting that, right?
John Koetsier: Right.
Eric Seufert: You just see what the results are and you kill stuff that doesn’t work. But if you don’t have that — and we might not have that, right — if you think about IDFA going away … that’s a fundamental change to the way people do digital marketing.
If you think about LAT, Limit Ad Tracking, that had a pretty massive impact. If you think about if GDPR getting teeth — [and] the California Privacy Act is much more extreme than GDPR — if that gets at a federal level and all of a sudden any of this data just can’t be shared across services … so even if the IDFA doesn’t go away, but you have this inability to share data across services or even pair third party data to identifiers or pair monetization data to identifiers, the way that we do digital marketing just would change completely.
So that kind of stuff I think is the conversations that I’ve had lately. People have been kind of tense and paranoid about those kinds of changes and then the way that they just would completely upend all the infrastructure that most companies have built to do marketing.
John Koetsier: Exactly and when when you’re talking about IDFA obviously you’re talking about the iOS ecosystem, but I assume you’re also talking about Google identifier for advertisers as well, correct?
Eric Seufert: Yeah. I mean, I think Apple tends to lead on this stuff. And I haven’t heard any whispers about Google eliminating the ad ID, whereas I have with Apple, so it’s a little bit different. I mean it’s not different, but I think Apple would do it first and then Google would probably follow. But there’s other stuff too. It’s IDFA going away. That’s not top of mind for most people. But I also think that the concentration of market share within Google and Facebook is forcing a lot of this too.
The challenges of scaling just on Facebook and Google
Because what you see a lot of companies dealing with is … you actually can launch a product really easily on Facebook and see a lot of success and then that just plateaus, right?
So you see a lot actually with DTC (direct to consumer) brands. You can spin up campaigns that break even in 30 days with AEO (app event optimization) and VO (value optimization) campaign types on Facebook, and you can scale that to let’s say a hundred sales a day. And so your early metrics look really great and really encouraging.
But the thing is that AEO and VO don’t really scale that well, and they start to saturate really quickly. You grow that to a thousand sales a day, but can you grow that to 10,000 sales a day? Obviously you’d expect that your performance degrades, but it degrades so sharply. And so what a lot of DTC companies do is they see that early success, they go and raise money and then they actually can’t scale that success meaningfully beyond what they raised money on.
So they just have to go elsewhere. I mean there’s just no choice when Google and Facebook own 80% of the growth for digital. If they own 50% of the market and you can only scale so far with them, where do you go? And so … not digital. So a lot of companies are really exploring non-digital formats now for that reason, even beyond just the technical aspect of identifiers going away.
John Koetsier: What’s super interesting as we’re having this conversation is that I’ve seen some data recently on advertising that is targeted to a person or persona that’s customized, even personalized … which has kind of been the digital marketer’s holy grail for some years: sending the right ad to the right person at the right time and magic happens.
And some data coming out recently suggests that actually there’s not a lot of magic that happens there. First of all we’re not super good at doing that, sending the right ad to the right person at exactly the right time. But also, contextual advertising works almost as well, if not better.
Eric Seufert: Yeah, I think whenever I see those studies from vendors operating in that space, I feel like the results that they sort of showcase tend to suffer from a confirmation bias.
So if you show me a campaign where it’s like: Hey, my new tool allows you to build a customer journey with advertising. And so you’re going to show them an ad here and here and here. And we’ve tested all the different configurations of those placements and the timings and the chronology and we’ve enabled you to deliver what you said, the right message, the right time, and hey … look at the performance.
But you never see that compared against just a baseline of performance for that last thing.
John Koetsier: Right, right.
The user acquisition team composition is changing
Eric Seufert: So if you tell me: Hey, my product helps you show the sequence of five Facebook ads and look at how much better it did than the worst performing variant of those five Facebook ads, I would say, okay, great … just show me just the last ad and … is there a meaningful performance boost there?
Because then I just spent four times whatever the CPM is in addition to that.
I’m always kind of wary of that stuff. With the way that Facebook and Google pivoted into algorithmic campaign management, you’ve seen the locus of impact shift in mobile specifically from campaign management, button clicking, and media buying to creative strategy and analysis.
So if you think about five years ago, what UA (user acquisition) team looked like … it looked like an army of media buyers and then you had an artist and you did a creative report once a week and pitched new creative ideas.
Now it’s like you have an army of creative people.
And I don’t mean that they are creative. I mean that you have an army of people working on creative and you have a bunch of analysts and you have a few media buyers. So that personalization thing, I think that there’s something to that … but I don’t know about it being a deterministic ad journey.
I think it’s more like we create a variant of this ad for everyone. We create thousands or tens of thousands of variants of this ad and we let Facebook and Google determine the best pairing.
And I think that is a very powerful idea. That’s how you’ve seen mobile marketing emerge now to where your goal as a mobile marketer is to make sure you let Facebook and Google do the heavy lifting on showing the right thing to the right person. Because they know those people better than you do, just based on their data sets. And they’re also just better at testing that, doing it quickly at scale.
So your job is to come up with the right ad variant for them, like the right creative.
Owning your own data as a marketer
John Koetsier: Well that’s super interesting and I’ve seen that from a lot of people. But the interesting thing as well there is that you’re paying Google to show that to a bunch of people, and learn which one is going to work out best. You’re also paying Facebook to do the same work … and actually, are you extracting any of that intelligence yourself to use anywhere else?
Eric Seufert: Well, no, and that goes back to what I was talking about before. That’s why some people are just … you either opt fully in or you opt out. You accept that, hey, Facebook owns this data, I don’t, and I can’t, you know, it’s inaccessible to me.
And so I’m going to go build my own dataset with these other sorts of channels and I’m just going to think about marketing holistically, and I own that model at the sort of macro level. I’ll let Facebook own the digital piece of that for their budget.
But yeah, I mean, you’re right. And I think that’s what’s frustrating to people. And I think that walled garden idea at some point might work against Facebook.
I mean, Facebook is a behemoth and obviously Google is too, but I think if you kind of hold that data hostage at some point, I think that what Facebook thought when they shifted to this approach with the algorithm: We’re just make it so easy to go all in on Facebook. And if we own the data and you can’t use it to the benefit of your campaigns that run elsewhere, you probably at some point — for especially a lower level of span — you’re just going to say, you know what, I’m just gonna give all my money to Facebook.
It’s easier. It’s the least amount of friction. That’s the lowest resistance thing for me to do.
Well, once you get to scale, people resent it.
And also you see the degradation of quality or degradation of performance and you see the diminishing returns and you think, wow, actually if I would were able to carve some of this spend off and put it elsewhere, I think I would have better overall performance. And I think that is partially what’s behind the rise of programmatic. And I think that’s partially why people are starting to explore sort of like digital, non-Facebook, non-direct response, non even mobile channels.
Why programmatic is growing so quickly
John Koetsier: Let’s talk about that briefly … the rise of programmatic as opposed to just spending with Facebook or just going into Google or just doing those two. What do you see there? What’s happening and why is it happening?
Eric Seufert: There’s definitely a lot of activity there … that’s probably three out of every four phone calls I have with advertisers that want to work with me. It’s because they’re trying to bring programmatic in house.
I’m hesitant to say it’s a turning point because people have been saying that for like six years. But the proof is in the pudding. Programmatic spend has grown like 50% year over year for the last two years from a much much lower baseline. It’s still growing like crazy.
But I think that’s in response to Facebook and Google going algorithmic and holding that data hostage.
Because programmatic is expensive. It’s hard to do right. It takes a huge amount of investment in infrastructure, but you 100% own the data. And so if you look at the landscape — and I just, I wrote my article for Mobile Dev Memo this week on this topic. So I guess that’ll come out at the same time. If you look at the landscape — if you’re a mobile advertiser, especially if you’re promoting an app — you’ve got the self-attributing networks which own your data, right? They wrap their arms around your data and they own it for all intents and purposes. You’ve got the ad networks that are basically just like brokers connecting buyers and sellers. And then you’ve got programmatic as well with the ad networks.
Some of them are starting to move into publishing and so you’re going to be reticent to give them your data. But they can’t really do their job well without it. The essay ends: you’re giving your data to them. I mean, you have to. You have to be running on Facebook and Google. But they own it and at some point you hit a wall just because of the nature of VO and UAC. And so the only thing you have left, the only recourse you have left for untapped growth opportunities is programmatic.
The rise of Amazon and the new triumvirate
John Koetsier: Interesting, interesting, interesting. You talked a little bit earlier when we were prepping for this podcast about the duopoly or the triumvirate … and whether can anything threaten it. Talk briefly about those companies that you’re referring to and what might threaten it.
Eric Seufert: I don’t know if anybody else uses the term triumvirate. So the duopoly is Google/Facebook. I started calling Google/Facebook/Amazon the triumvirate. I don’t know if anybody else does it.
John Koetsier: I’m not sure either, but it’s certainly rising fast isn’t it, Amazon.
Eric Seufert: Amazon is an interesting participant because they have all the components to build a just gigantic rival to Facebook and Google. I think Amazon likes to do things slowly and methodically and thoughtfully and incrementally and so my sense is that’s why they haven’t. I mean they bought Seismic and so they’re making moves.
But if you think about all the customer data that Amazon has … what I think is interesting and what I think kind of also supports this thesis that people are moving to this holistic measurement approach is that Amazon can wrap all their data about not just anything that you’ve done on their website, but all the purchases that you’ve made. What you’ve asked for with Alexa, all that kind of stuff. They can wrap all of that into their targeting mechanic.
And so you have all this great on-device data, but then you get a bunch of geo-based data and real world product data, and it just becomes a whole lot more robust than just: Oh, this person searched for this once. Or they’ve monetized in games, so they’re gamers with disposable income.
All the profiling that Facebook can do is just based on your activity on the device. And I’ve heard some really paranoid stuff about what Facebook does. I dunno how much of it’s true, but someone told me that Facebook tracks 100,000+ dimensions in any given user’s user profile.
John Koetsier: That’s a lot!
Eric Seufert: Some of them are synthetic, based on other dimensions, and some of them are based on in-app usage data. Someone told me that they were pitching agencies on their ability to determine someone’s weight or basically size because they tracked like the swing of the phone in your pocket.
John Koetsier: Are you kidding me?
Eric Seufert: So like your gait, right? Like … how quickly you walk. And I was like, okay, maybe that’s true. I don’t know if that adds a little bit of precision to the targeting … maybe they’d want to do that. It just seems so creepy.
And that’s just the kind of stuff that … someone had that idea at Facebook and pitched it to their boss and they were like, oh yeah, that’ll improve targeting. And it’s like, if that gets out, people are going to be so creeped out. It’s so self-defeating.
How much more precise is that making targeting, to be worth just the ick factor that people feel when they hear about that? It just feels like that the incremental value out of that specific measurement is so small compared to the risk of people just being grossed out by Facebook calculating that. But anyway.
John Koetsier: Well, you can bet that if there was any such project or ten, fifteen, twenty-five others similar to it, they have been canceled. Facebook is in a new environment post-Cambridge Analytica and all the other things that have gone on recently with legislation, the FTC fine, and everything like that. You can bet there’s a new bar, a new standard for projects that they greenlight now.
Eric Seufert: You’d hope so. But I mean, the sad part is how believable that is. And so it almost just doesn’t even really matter if it’s true. If people are like, no way, you know, then if it’s not true, it doesn’t hurt you. But if people are like, oh yeah, I could see them doing that, they’re pretty creepy … then the pain is already baked in. It doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not.
John Koetsier: That is a challenge once you lose trust, right? I mean that’s a real challenge.
But interestingly, you brought up Amazon, and Amazon knows where you live, knows what products you buy. If you’re a Prime member, they know a lot more about you: they know your music preferences, they know some of the movies that you like to watch. And if you’re on Twitch they know what games you might be interested in.
Eric Seufert: They have a huge data set that is really interesting. They know what you watch. They’ve got the Amazon channels now, so they, they aggregate all the different streaming services … so they know what you watch.
Amazon is a beast. It just feels like they’re moving in that direction. I just don’t know what the pace is going to be. I wrote a post recently about the Mary Meeker presentation this year. They showed there’s this ads ecosystem. The advertising ecosystem on mobile, it’s really diverse, right? Cause you’ve got, okay, Facebook and Google, they have a lot of market share, but then look at all these other entrants, all these other participants, and they own like X percent.
But if you broke that out, it was actually just Amazon.
She had this chart and was like, okay, here’s Facebook and Google. You remove them. But she didn’t like and you’ve got Amazon, you’ve got Snap, you’ve got Pinterest. And on and on and on … but if you broke that out, Amazon was 95%.
So it is kind of just Amazon, Facebook, Google at meaningful scale. Obviously competition is always better for the consumer … and in this case, the consumer is advertisers.
I think it’s great if Amazon just continues to make inroads there. They’ve already got a big business and I guess they do want to be very methodical, and they might just be kind of waiting to see how this stuff shakes out. Cause to me it feels like it’s a fait accompli that some big sweeping regulation gets passed.
And the only question is: how severe is it?
My opinion on Cambridge Analytica was … that was kind of blown out of proportion. I don’t think that was actually a serious issue. But it was kind of most peoples’ introduction to the sort data profiling that Facebook does. And so even though that incident wasn’t kind of significant, the idea of what could happen was probably more significant and probably scary to people.
But, you know, we’ll just see what the magnitude of that is. And I think you see a lot of firebrands, particularly in the house, who are basically building their profiles on being anti-tech. And so if some of these people feel the need to make tech a boogeyman, then this regulation could be quite severe.
How mobile marketing is changing
John Koetsier: It could be. Super interesting, and super interesting as well that the issue is not always the issue.
I mean … whether it was Cambridge Analytica or another privacy issue, it came to the fore. Kind of like FaceApp issue which everybody is upset about. I wrote a story on Forbes about it that went viral with 3 million views … but it’s not a worse app than dozens if not hundreds of other apps out there. It’s just the one that happened to capture the attention and get all the anger.
But anyways, let’s come back as we kinda draw near the end of our time here. We’ve talked about a lot of things: mobile marketing, the future, where we’ve come from, where we’re going, some of the challenges, the duopoly or the triumvirate.
Let’s talk a little bit more about the future. Maybe four to six months out or something like that, and maybe come back to some of the things that you were talking about. What’s it look like to be a mobile marketer three months out, six months out? How’s it changing and what needs to change about your skill set and maybe your approach as you move forward?
Eric Seufert: Yeah, sure. I think. So my belief is that marketing is a pretty technical, analytical job. And I think just because mobile marketing was kind of emergent, if you had experience in spinning up basically the mechanics of doing marketing — like just setting up campaigns, setting up attribution, setting up reporting — you were a mobile marketer and you were valued.
The value that you brought was that experience, not necessarily the more strategic side of things. And I think that has changed. That definitely changed a lot. So if you think about what I was talking about earlier with the levers available to marketers being all of that analysis that goes into doing creative well, and optimizing for events, and figuring out which events you should be sending to platforms for doing optimization on your campaigns … then the job does seem really technical, right?
All the other stuff now is kind of commoditized, and your value now is not, well, I know how to use an attribution service and I know how to do reporting, and I can coordinate all that. Now it’s well, okay, I actually am quite technical and I can understand why creatives work or don’t, and I can understand why targeting works or doesn’t. And I can prove that out with the analysis … then it’s just a different role.
And so I think that’s changing.
But also, teams are getting smaller too because of algorithmic campaign management … you just don’t need that huge army of media buyers now. And I think you could operate a team that’s doing multiple millions of dollars of spend per month with a couple people. So I think it felt like there was kind of like a boom time and that’s definitely over and now it’s like — and I think you wrote about this the other day — you see a lot of VP growth titles.
You know, I haven’t seen any chief growth officer titles yet, but you see VP growth.
There you’re not really talking about necessarily doing media buying, you’re talking about overall of ownership of the growth of the product through whatever means. So, yeah, you’d probably have a Facebook person reporting to that person, but maybe just one or two. And then you’d probably have product managers who are focused on the onboarding experience and who are focused on different aspects of invitation mechanics and stuff, and optimize assets, like a much more holistic view now.
There’s not as much tension I think between performance marketers and brand marketers.
John Koetsier: Yeah, definitely.
Eric Seufert: I’ve experienced that in my career where there was a lot of tension between those two roles and I think now they’re being rolled up into one who takes holistic measurement of just: Hey, I don’t care how we get it done, but we need to grow the DAU (daily average users) of this app.
The growth of incrementality
John Koetsier: Absolutely, I’ve been saying for a year now that all brand marketing is performance marketing, and all performance marketing is brand marketing. And I think we’re seeing that more and more and more.
The other things that we were talking about prepping for this was the future of mobile marketing, media mix modeling, incrementality, omnichannel and probabilistic attribution. Can you talk a little bit about those?
Eric Seufert: Yeah, sure.That’s just kind of an extension of what I was saying: that is marketing now.
It’s like: okay, I understand how to measure incrementality. I understand how to put together a media mixe model and evaluate the performance at a macro level. I understand that if if I can attribute something, I can sort of probabilistically attribute it.
I don’t need that direct, that sort of direct response attribution link.
I have it for some campaigns, but I can attribute everything, because I have a probabilistic model that tells me, when I had TV ads running, I got this uplift and when I allocate 20% more to a budget on Facebook, I got this level of uplift. Even though I was doing view through ads and I had other video ads running on Youtube or whatever. So I think that’s like the really cool stuff too.
John Koetsier: So, tell us what you’re working on now?
Eric Seufert: I launched a website recently called QuantMar. I wanted to create a place where the discussion could be focused around those really meaningful topics. I think it’s kinda like the frontier of marketing right now. I wanted to give people a place to discuss that kind of stuff and to actually share knowledge and build credibility in those areas, for the purposes of their own personal brand building for recruiting.
And for just general purpose like knowledge sharing!
So that there was a place where you could have information that was vetted by the community as being credible, as being useful and valuable. And you didn’t have to rely on content marketing.
So like present company excluded! Most marketing content is just vendor content. Marketing’s is really bad, right? It’s promotional. It’s usually factually inaccurate or misleading.
And so I wanted to create a place where people could find really useful, valuable, insight on how to do like kind of cutting edge, modern marketing. So that’s QuantMar.com. It’s basically like a stack exchange or a Quora for, for performance marketers.
John Koetsier: And why did that not fit in the Mobile Dev Memo sort of container?
Eric Seufert: One, I didn’t want this to be seen as pigeonholed into mobile. Modern marketing is extending beyond DR, and when I say modern marketing, I mean modern performance marketing … I’m a performance marketer.
I totally agree with you about brand: brand is wrapped up in performance. There’s no reason to think of those as binary opposites. The opposite of performance marketing is non-performance marketing, right? So it’s just doing things poorly. Brand definitely falls under the performance marketing umbrella.
Not only for people that are promoting apps!
Modern marketing has moved past just direct response on mobile, right? So I didn’t want this to be seen as just a resource for mobile people. And, I think, my goal with Mobile Dev Memo has always been kinda to build my own personal brand. And I didn’t want this to be seen as an exercise in promoting myself.
And also, I want to build out a kind of ecosystem similar properties or sites. It felt like that the ability to kind of like ping pong people between those two websites and then also across the Slack group was just really powerful, and it would have a multiplicative effect rather than just sort of putting it under MDM.
One of my goals with QuantMar — I’ve got a developer working on this right now — is I want that to become a recruiting platform. I think in general mobile marketers tend to be totally underpaid. I think if you’re operating a budget of $5 million a month — $60 million a year — I mean there are hedge funds that size. And so you should be paid to that standard, not to the standard of the agency person who does Facebook campaigns.
And I think being able to showcase your knowledge and your expertise … what avenues do you have to do that? You’ve got LinkedIn, that’s basically it. And your professional reputation. But I wanted to give people an opportunity to really showcase their knowledge, and as a result to increase their value … and increase their market price. And so I’ve got some cool features coming with QuantMar that are gonna facilitate that.
Even now you can go and show: hey, I’m one of the foremost experts on Facebook marketing. I understand how these algorithms work better than anyone. And like that really does separate you out. It’s definitely a better way to showcase your value than just submitting a CV to a hiring company. So I want QuantMar to be a place for knowledge sharing … a place for building a credible content library that really moves the field forward. But I also want to be a place where recruiters go and find candidates.
John Koetsier: Wonderful, wonderful, that sounds super exciting. I know I’ll be hanging out there. I want to thank you again for being our inaugural guest on the very first edition of Growth Masterminds podcast, and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day in Texas.
Eric Seufert: Yeah. Cheers, John. Thank you so much.
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